The Good Place Recap

The Good Place Season Finale: Forking Brilliant or Forking Strange?

Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Good Place finale

Eleanor Shellstrop, you’ve been duped — and so have we?

The Good Place wrapped up Season 1 on Thursday night with a major twist: The Good Place is actually The Bad Place. What the fork?!

Once promoted to architect, Michael decides to innovate by crafting a neighborhood where Eleanor, Jason, Chidi and Tahani would do all the work by torturing each other. For each of them, that so-called perfect world is actually the place of nightmares: Eleanor is surrounded by people better than her; Chidi is stuck in “an ethical clusterfork”; Tahani can’t win Chidi’s love; and Jason is constantly needled by Tahani to talk. (Apparently, not all torture is created equally.)

It’s obvious why Eleanor and Jason landed there, but what did the seemingly good Chidi and Tahani do to deserve such an awful afterlife? Chidi made all his friends and family miserable with his indecisiveness, while Tahani’s charitable work was motivated by a desire to prove her parents wrong, stick it to her sister and become famous enough to stalk snog Ryan Gosling at the Met Ball, which she did — “a couple times, actually,” she reveals. As for everyone else in the neighborhood, they were just playing their parts.

When Eleanor figures out the evil plot, Michael announces his plan to erase all their memories and restart the scheme with some tweaks. Before he can wipe the slate clean, Eleanor puts a note in Janet’s mouth. Then she reawakens in The Good Place, where Michael once again greets her in his office. After a tour of the neighborhood and an introduction to her hot, mailman soulmate, Eleanor gets a visit from Janet, who delivers the note: “Eleanor — find Chidi.”

“What the fork is a Chidi?” Eleanor replies.

Good Place fans, did the finale have you saying, “What the fork was that?” Or was it a pleasant surprise? Hit the comments with your thoughts, plus grade it!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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58 Comments
  1. Matthew Lawler says:

    I was really surprised by the twist ending I didn’t see it coming but it makes it really hard to Magine how they could do a season two without it being a complete retread of season one now that the secrets out how do they keep it interesting how do they keep it fresh

    • CurlyGurly says:

      Well, as Michael said there were going to be a few tweaks (Eleanor’s new “soul mate” for one) and then Eleanor trying to figure out WTH a Chidi is, so I’m looking forward to the new season. Great Twist!

  2. David Graf says:

    I had been wondering how the concept behind this series would be good for more than a limited number of episodes and now we know. Like the Prisoner series from the sixties with Patrick McGoohan, we now have protagonists fighting against a system designed to crush them. And, of course, we already see that there are circles revolving within other circles with the other side where failure is not an acceptable option. I see this moving away from a lighthearted romp into the afterlife to a more serious dramedy.

  3. Andy says:

    I thought it was a fun twist. Makes me interested to see how Eleanor reacts with the new setup next season (hopefully!)

    Worth pointing out, though, Tahani said she wanted to “snog” Ryan Gosling at the Met Ball.

    • jr. says:

      The stuffy place where Michael was revealed to have been working ( as an “angel” ? ), looked more like he was working in Hell ( or The Bad Place ). Maybe Eleanor is really ‘management’ and she and her cohorts are trying to hehabilitate Michael!

      • Alichat says:

        That would be an interesting twist for a final season! He and the others seem cruel and have twisted ideas of what makes a person good or bad. Especially since the Medium Place has someone who is a bit like Tahani but is worse. So if she and the Medium Place are legit…..and that’s all in question now…..why does she warrant being there and Tahani in the Bad Place? Lots of things to explore I think.

        • Jon says:

          Medium place girl was well-intentioned for a moment. Tahani was not

          • Alichat says:

            But how does that balance on a karmic level? That was my point. Dissecting it would be interesting. Is their categorization criteria flawed? Tahani’s motivations were selfish, but she did billions more good with those selfish motivations in her lifetime. Medium Place woman was selfish throughout her adult life and only thought of doing good right before she died. Her sister is actually the person that implemented that good in her name. So, how does that balance out? What places her in the Medium Place and Tahani in the Bad? I think that would be interesting to touch upon.

          • lrdslvrhnd says:

            She was well-intentioned for one pure moment, after which she was subsequently killed. And then her plan was picked up and run with. So she had an idea to do good for not reason other than utter goodness, and good was done in her name using her plan, for apparently no reasons other than utter goodness and to honor her memory.
            .
            Tahani, on the other hand, did good, but for bad reason. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
            .
            There really is a world of difference there. There were ulterior motives for one, and no ulterior motives for the other (despite being totally coke-fueled).

  4. Jason says:

    Such a great show would be a shame if it doenst come back. I love Eleanor and Chidi together. although I wonder why Eleanor didn’t write something more telling on her note to help her remember

  5. Candace says:

    I believe Tahani wanted to smog Ryan Gosling, not stalk him.

  6. TV Gord says:

    I was delighted by the way things went! I really hope this show gets a second season. I was glad to see Michael show an evil side. I hope they run with that next go-round!

  7. Rachel says:

    I thought the finale was great. Definitely had me saying, what the fork!?!?

  8. Eurydice says:

    I’d been thinking all along that there was something fishy about the good place – too many inconsistencies – so this reversal made perfect sense to me. And what a great reversal it was to see Ted Danson go from Michael to Mike. It, ll be interesting to see where they take this (if the show is renewed) – who knows, maybe the bad place isn’t really the bad place, either.

    • Elf says:

      The clever part was the way they explained away the inconsistencies by blaming it on the way the Good Place was “broken” by Fake Eleanor’s presence, when we now know those problems were all part of the setup.

  9. JaneLane says:

    It’s not often that a tv show completely shocks me. I honestly didn’t see this coming at all, but once it was revealed it made perfect sense. I think it’ll be interesting to see how these people connect in a totally different scenario. I was still on the fence about this show before the break, but it’s definitely grabbed my attention now. Hopefully we’ll be able to see how this new plot line develops next season

  10. John says:

    I still love the show, but that twist was…kind of a stretch.

    • MLO says:

      All TV is kind of a stretch… any sci-fi show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., soap operas, reality TV, etc. Just one more – no biggie.

    • DJ Doena says:

      Actually it wasn’t. I was having problems with the original promise because the bar seemed way too high to get into the actual good place. And I was wondering about Tahani the whole time. She didn’t seem to be that good of a person considering the aforementioned high bar.

  11. Rich says:

    Great ending for a great season. If it comes back, they’ve earned my loyalty. If it doesn’t they leave with my thanks.

  12. Gina says:

    I did not see that coming. I loved it!!!

    Once Mike said that he was going to erase their memory, it made me wonder if this was their first go-round in the bad place. Perhaps Mike has done this a few times already, and each time someone else figures it out.

    I’m super excited to see where the series goes. RENEW IT, please!!

  13. Cassie says:

    I didn’t see that ending coming at all, but thought it was awesome. I’ve really loved this show and hope it comes back next season!

  14. Kay says:

    I had a feeling there was some kind of twist to this, but I did NOT see that coming!! Really really well done- I am really hoping they get a second season.

  15. Joey Padron says:

    Season finale was good and surprising. Great twist. Can’t wait to see what happens in season 2!

  16. Caitlin says:

    Loved it! I was shocked and totally surprised by the twist. I am really looking forward to future seasons.

  17. Angie says:

    I LOVED it! My family and I were watching it together and all went “WHAT??” Brilliant! I love being surprised and can’t wait until next season. Ted Danson really gave off the “Sam Malone” vibe in the final episode. Kristen Bell was forking genius!

  18. Charity says:

    I loved it, brilliant writing and storytelling.

  19. Tenney says:

    I absolutely loved the twist. I didn’t see it coming at all and then when they showed some of the flashbacks and how they played into the twist, I thought it was forkin awesome.

  20. Tom says:

    Snog not stalk. I for one loved it. So many possibilities for season 2. Holy shirt is it going to be a long forking wait. Am *I* in the bad place?

  21. Jake L. says:

    I loved it. Obviously, the biggest change next season is that even if Eleanor experiences similar things to this season, we the audience are in on Michael’s game now, so it changes our perspective of what happens. Eleanor ha Chidi’s name, but nothing else (and right now she doesn’t even seem to know that his name is a name), so the deck is stacked against the core foursome figuring this out again, but we the audience know their goal even if they don’t, and that’s going to make it really interesting, because for the first time we are ahead of the characters instead of experiencing this world alongside them.

    I also think it’s a fair guess that the mailman soulmate is one of Michael’s people, rather than an actual new person who just died. So, assuming Eleanor confesses her secret to him, his response will be more designed to torture her, as opposed to helping her as Chidi did.

  22. MichaMainz says:

    For me, it was obvious that the place was the bad place. I wonder if by chance it is a kind of test, or it is a punishment for Michael who condemned to take care of them. It is perhaps Michael who is punished and the others (Chidi, Jason …) don’t exist.

  23. Chance says:

    The twist was BRILLIANT and I actually gasped when it was revealed. Now I understand why the creators were so adamant about keeping the season short.

  24. Soo says:

    I love that Michael is what, the Devil or something? So, is the point for all to find their” Happy Endings” or to become qualified for the real Good Place. Or, maybe there is no point. (how existential). They do make it rather difficult to get in the Good Place. Gee, one has to be practically an angel. The Supernatural (CW) heaven is a bit easier.

    • DJ Doena says:

      Actually, no. We have been told what it takes to be in the Good Place. But that was a lie by Michael. We don’t actually know the score. And over the course of the season I more than once wondered how Tahani got in if the the threshold is that high.
      We basically have to consider two questions: Why are you doing something for Tahani and what effect do you have on others for Chidi. It apparantly doesn’t help if you only score in one department.

  25. bob says:

    can someone else to me how did Tahani die? i missed it somehow.

  26. elizahgale says:

    I liked the twist. However, the note made no sense. Why not just write the good place is really the bad place.

  27. Sharon says:

    I never saw the twist coming and I’ve watchef a lot of TV. Hope there is a good Michael out there somewhere.

  28. queensgirl says:

    I’m still trying to process everything, but kudos to Michael Schur for creating something so elaborate and intricate. And poor Chidi (I love Chidi!) definitely deserves to be in The Good Place…he didn’t mean to drive people crazy with his rigidity and indecisiveness (and, um, neither do I ;) ).

  29. Nero tTVfiddler says:

    Wonderful show. I just read the comments upthread… I agree with all of them … this show is quite special, and Danson, Bell and the other cast members, as well as Michael Schur, are at the top of their game. Well done! I do hope the series gets the green light for a second season, but as noted upthread by Rich and Fan, if the show does not continue, I am grateful for having had this one season.

    Additional point. NBC has really hit a homerun this 2016-17 season with both The Good Place and This Is Us. I can’t say enough about these two shows… they have set the bar very high with intelligent writing, strong casts and the ability to both entertain and shock their audiences. Brilliant work… and all this coming from a broadcast network. Well done NBC.

  30. Sheldon W. says:

    Forking brilliant! And perfectly logical once you think about it.

  31. Phil says:

    I couldn’t figure out why this show irked me soooo much, with this creative team, and Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. It all just felt off – the chemistry, the storylines, I didn’t like any of the supporting cast, and I hated their portrayal of an after life and the lack of supporting cast members. But I held in, because I figured there HAD to be a reason it wasn’t working. I had faith in the creative team.
    YAY for hanging in there! I LOVED this twist. Apart from the “I stole a Good Janet” bit that is just handwaved away extremely conveniently, I thought this was fascinating – and it makes all of my concerns legitimate. Not just legitimate, but completely accurate. I had a feeling it would come together in the end and I am so pleased with how it did.
    Also, there was a clue in the 12th episode! When we finally see Eleanor die, guess who we didn’t see? Other Eleanor! Because bitch ain’t human! :)

    • Josh Romer says:

      Also, I’m fairly certain they said it was a Viagra truck, and not some shopping carts.

      • Ace says:

        No, it was shopping carts. I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a Viagra truck either. ;)

      • DJ Doena says:

        All right, so you were in a grocery store parking lot. You dropped a bottle of something called “Lonely Gal Margarita Mix for One.” And when you bent down to pick it up, a long column of shopping carts that were being returned to the shopping cart collection area rolled out of control and plowed right into you.

        Oof. That’s how I died?

        No, sorry, there’s more. You were able to grab on to the front of the column
        of shopping carts, but it swept you right out into the street where you were struck and killed by a mobile billboard truck advertising an erectile dysfunction pill called “Engorge-ulate.”

    • Ace says:

      I think there was a minor fake-out with that though, because you could hear a woman shouting something like “Look out!” at Eleanor and we were to assume that was Real Eleanor. Of course, in hindsight should that have actually happened we probably would’ve been shown that, too, instead of just hearing a woman’s voice off-camera.

  32. I loved the finale and I especially loved that it made so much sense. I didn’t understand how Tahani made it to the Good Place to begin with and watching Chidi’s off-the-charts stress levels continue to rise made me think the poor guy might as well be in Hell.
    .
    Ted played Michael’s change in demeanor so well I expected to see horns grow out of his head.
    Forking great finale. Now if they only could do something about Jason next season it would be great. The character is dumb past the point where he can be enjoyable.

  33. Katrinka says:

    I really enjoyed the twist! Since episode one I had an issue with Tahani being in The Good Place. My parents taught me from an early age that once you brag or boast about doing something kind, it negates the good deed. Tahani admitted in the finale that her motives weren’t pure, so she understood how she got there.

  34. PatriciaLee says:

    It was ok and cute. I would like to see how the next year progresses. My take on it is that this is purgatory, and it is Michael who is being tortured and maybe saved. The others are doing hard labor, working off their minor offenses to earn the best place. Maybe, their hard labor is trying to save Michael. or some such If it is not renewed, that is how I am visualizing its end.

  35. Stan Forrest says:

    Brilliant twist which brought crystal clarity to the sheer wackiness of a “paradise” that’s obviously broken — but I gave it a B because I can’t see how Schur & co. can keep it going after this. There was a constant tension in the midst of all the hilarity, a subconscious recognition that something wasn’t quite right here. But now that we know why, how can the show continue to be interesting? I guess I’m hooked, because I’ll be tuning in to find out.

  36. robandco says:

    That twist was brilliant. I am so pumped for a season 2. There are so many possibilities.
    And now that I know Tahani is not perfect I find her much more likeable!!

  37. Kevin says:

    I thought it was brilliant. Even if it hadn’t been, any show that can deliver the line “holy motherforking shirtballs” and not sound like a badly dubbed movie (e.g., Repo Man’s “flip you!”) is doing something right. A+++++

  38. Dew says:

    I kinda thought while watching that they might be in the bad place